Young engineer to spearhead Wall Street bailout

Article source: Stephen Foley -

Young engineer to spearhead Wall Street bailout

The Wall Street crisis has seen the formation of a special office, the Office of Financial Stability to be headed by a little known, low-ranking official at the Treasury, Neel Kashkari. This special wing is the one that will manage $700 billion bail-out money that is fund the rescue plan.

This money is to be invested by Neel Kashkari and his team to purchase bad mortgage assets that have caused many of the problems we are seeing in the markets today. No one knows how this move will turn out, be it at a profit or a further loss of money $700 billion.

The biggest burden now lies on Mr. Kashkari’s shoulders whose new post has sent ripples across Washington. A son to Kashmiri immigrants to the US, Mr. Kashkari has worked for a period of just two years at the capital, a fact which has raised many eyebows given his recent appointment. He was one of a host of executives hired by Treasury Secretary Paulson from Goldman Sachs; Mr. Paulson previously held the position of Chief Executive Officer at Goldmans Sachs. Mr. Paulson then moved to work for the administration of President George W. Bush. At Goldman, Mr. Kashkari was not involved in the running of inside matters in New York but was rather stationed on the West Coast where he was particularly involved in advising Information Technology Security firms on mergers and acquisitions. He has a home in California and another in Maryland together with his wife Minal.

Before his elevation to Wall Street matters, Mr. Kashkari was involved in NASA’s space programme. An Engineer by trade, he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign for a bachelor’s as well as masters degree in Engineering; a familiar field considering that his father is a retired professor of Engineering while his mother is a Pathologist. Before finance, science was his first love.

On completing his studies, the first job he landed was at the TRW Company in Redondo Beach California where he was involved in developing technology for new space science missions. At the time, TRW was known as NASA’s constructor, credited with the construction of several of NASA’s deep space satellites. One of the projects that Mr. Kashkari helped develop was the James Webb Space telescope; set to be launched in 2013 the telescope will be the successor to the Hubble Telescope. The James Webb Telescope will go searching for light emitted by the first stars that were formed after the Big Bang.

Mr. Kashkari’s parents could not be any more proud of their son; as they talked to reporters over their son’s elevation to the Treasury their joy was clear. He is without a doubt an industrious and ambitious 35 year old man and being elected to this position is definitely a vote of confidence for what he can achieve for the financial markets.

Besides, he brings some of the knowledge of dealing with financial crisis from Goldman Sachs as he and Mr. Paulson were involved in trying to rescue the mortgage industry and then the investment bank Bear Stearns. As if that was not all, others followed suit more recently, namely, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giants, Lehman Brothers and the insurer AIG. All along he has been behind the scenes with regards to the bail out plan, and he is well versed with the situation at hand, having been highly involved in the drafting of the Troubled Assets Relief Programme; this clearly makes him one of the best people for the job.